Summary: This text shows at least 5 things Jesus finished on the Cross.
It was breathtaking as we sat in a small gazebo in Jerusalem. Our Holy Land group was at the Garden Tomb, it’s a private park owned by a religious organization in England. We were listening to a British gentleman explain why they believed the Garden Tomb is the actual place where Jesus had been buried. He was telling us it’s because it had to be near Golgotha where Jesus was crucified.
Then, he gestured over our shoulders to our right. We all turned to look through the vine-covered lattice of our gazebo, and for the first time we saw the Place of the Skull in the cliff beside us. It gave us chill bumps to think this might have been the hill where Jesus was crucified between 2 thieves. Everything we had heard and studied about the Crucifixion passed through our minds rapidly as we tried to imagine Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.
That’s the setting for my text today. You follow as I read John 19:17-30.
The translators of the King James Bible used 3 words to translate the 1 Greek word, tetel’estai. In the Greek that one word means simply “finished!” They added the “it is,” but that makes it sound like only one thing was finished. Neither the 1 Greek word nor the 3 English words can adequately translate all the multi-faceted work Jesus completed on the cross. We may never comprehend all that Jesus finished for us, but we can’t go wrong letting the Bible itself point these out to us. Look again at our text, and I’ll show you at least 5 things the text says to me.
I. FINISHED: THE LAVISHNESS OF LOVE, vs. 17-18
At the beginning of my text, verses 17-18 remind me that the lavish display of God’s love was finished at Golgotha. Jesus publicly bore the cross through the streets of Jerusalem for all to see. When they crucified him, he was suspended between heaven and earth to draw all attention to himself. His death was at a crossroads so metropolitan that they had to write his accusation in 3 languages. Do you wonder why he let them humiliate him publicly? Why not just die quietly? It would still pay for our sins. He was showing the whole world how much he loved us!
I remember when we lived in East Ridge, TN; we had to drive through a Missionary Ridge tunnel to get to downtown Chattanooga. Every time they would paint the inside of “the tube,” as they called it, young men in love would spray-paint it the next night with messages of love: “Jeff loves Linda” or “Bobby plus Sally equals true love!” You’ve heard of men renting billboards or hiring an airplane to carry a banner proposing to their sweethearts. People in love do crazy things on the spur of the moment!
God is in love! He’s in love with us, but he never acts on the spur of the moment. He took thousands of years to plan his proposal to us. When he came as Jesus to die for our sins, he finished the greatest display of love the world could ever see. We were on the auction block going to the highest bidder, and Satan was winning. He had promised us to his cohorts, Sin and Death. Then, Jesus made a bid Satan was unwilling to top. Jesus took us down and stepped on that auction block in our place.
The One in whose presence angels cover their faces gave himself to Satan, Sin, and Death for 30 pieces of silver. They ridiculed him, tormented him, spit on him, beat him, nailed him to a cross, killed him, and sealed him in Death’s dark tomb guarded by all the demons of Hell. That’s what they had planned to do to us! But, Jesus took our place, fought off our enemies, and broke out of that tomb so he could come back and never be separated from us again. How’s that for a demonstration of love?
Finished: the lavishness of love. If you ever doubt how much God loves you, just look again at Calvary!
II. FINISHED; THE CROWNING OF CHRIST, v. 19
A second look at verse 19 might remind us that Jesus was crowned King of the Jews when he died. And, I’m not talking about his crown of thorns. It was Roman custom when they crucified someone to post his crimes. This would be a deterrent to keep others from committing those same crimes. Governor Pilate nailed a sign to Jesus’ cross that he was the King of the Jews. The chief priests didn’t like the wording of his sign. It was an offense to them that strangers might think Rome was actually crucifying a Jewish king. They said, “Don’t write ‘King of the Jews’. Write that he said he was King of the Jews.” Pilate decided they were nit-picking, so he refused to change his sign.